Sunday, April 27, 2008

interacting with experts: jim manning speaks

FaceBook has brought me many friends. Some to poke, share posts, throw sheep, discuss concepts and theories. Whatever.

And then some come along and share with me so much insight, wisdom and deep understanding that it makes me shut-up and listen. I met Jim Manning through his FB group “Save the Australian Wine Industry”. We held a common interest in wine – him with his group (and many winery friends) and me with my own wine group, Bring out the Dead Reds – that we had so much to discuss. Jim’s passion for conversation and making things happen were very much aligned to my own spirit. We clicked. Jim involves himself and takes an interest in so many diverse and important things, that I think if we had more champions out there with his candour, his wit and his genuine nature the world would be a far better place. And I have no doubt once he’s finished with it, it will be.

Now, Jim does love his social media networking. Words of wisdom coming from a long time successful business man couldn’t be a truer sentiment. So, here’s what Jimbo wrote:


"The social networking boom I fear is about to bust or at least take on yet another face.

We have seen the explosion of Social Networking and in recent times we have seen a greater desire to do business in this space. Even in the Facebook space I have detected a significant withdrawal from some of the “play” that went on. Not so many sheep being thrown, not so many vampire bites etc. The reaction of the social community against applications that require enforcing your friends to play has now been well documented with many petition sites set up to tell the writers to cut it out.

Of course as new people join the explosion so some of these “learning curve” products will still have a life and we the mature players will play along.

Weblogs (Blogs) started out as just that, a place to share ones diary, creativity, hobby, whatever and the invited an opinion so that the author could ostensibly grow as an individual. Now more and more business sites see the need to have a Blog. Just remember why we blog. They are still fun and the domain of the author. We can read, form an opinion and move on. It is what the web allows – a place for opinion and a place to simply make the choice to move on if we do not like what we see. The power is all ours, the decision is mine.

So how do we get the blend right? ”How does Business and the Social Medium Mix”.

We as consumers have never enjoyed the heavy hitting “blue blazer, white shoes car sales” techniques (apologies to my good mates in the car trade). Forcing a consumer down a path will ultimately fail as suspicion of the motive grows.

It brings us to why do we buy? Small items may be impulse buys – the rack at the checkout counts on that kind of technique and has some value. But when we go out to buy, we have a need that has to be satisfied. The Fridge has broken down once too often, it is time to replace.

These days many of us will research our purchase on line before we attend the Fridge shop.

I can only say that imposing oneself on a target audience in the web medium is quickly identified as “spam”. The basic requirements of “need satisfaction selling”, which I was taught in my first ever “Xerox PSSII” course (back before most of you were born) are as real today as ever.

If I am to successfully do business in the social space it needs to be on the basis of building a relationship with my client base. Having my network group know what I do and where I am available when required to deliver, is important. If I have built these relationships soundly my business will grow alongside of my social relationship.

When buying anything the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) principle reigns supreme. When I view a page, an advertisement it has to be received as a “confidence” not as a “con”. The subtlety of our delivery will be measured by the perceived care factor from my audience, not the amount of ‘spam’ I can force on to my friends and clients.

In closing a simple example - Yesterday I was invited to Pokey – my pet dog on facebook (the graphics are great). I can, if I choose invite more friends to join me and yes I am rewarded for inviting friends but not a requirement. I must play, pet and feed my dog regularly. This morning was the first scheduled feed. I fed my dog “Science Diet” a real brand I know to be good – it was recommended by my real life vet. Now that is sensible marketing in the social network environment I have been subtly exposed to a product that I can identify on the shelf at my local pet shop. Clearly if I feed my online dog I may just as well feed my best friend the same stuff. Clever but subtle.

The concepts of care for our fellow man are as important in friendship as they are in business. That is Social Networking."


Jim Manning @ Wise Orange (for starters) but you can also find him blogging away to Save the Murray and on his AOEDE

Jim Manning has been a member of the Australian business community for 40 years.

He is best known for his innovative implementation of automated Database systems for his previous business National Credit Insurance (NCI). Since selling NCI two years ago Jim has re-invented himself in an effort to help you implement innovative IT solutions for your business.

2 comments:

murfomurf said...

Sounds good moderate stuff, Jim! I'm deliberately touring about online to read plenty of blogs so I can see what the balance is amongst the different types- "sell", fun and games, building business, expressing your literary or artistic leanings etc. I guess Social Media stuff for business could work in any field, if one could find the right argot/style/meme to speak to the target audience. I think it works for some small groups of people interested in research in various fields, too- since my main career focus is this. However, it's ideas rather than money-type business that gets exchanged.
As for Facebook- it seems as though you can be much more choosy about who you interact with on there as opposed to MySpace, but the way the games are thrust under your nose, there has to be a strong will to resist on board at all times! I succumb to a few, like everybody sometime- I still Poke and play Scrabulous, but most of the other stuff I'm giving away. More time needs to be devoted to making my LiveJournal Blog more consistent and integrated if I'm going to get anyone to read it- and if I want them to!

Charlie Robinson said...

Quick response from Charlie: nail on head re "ideas: being exchanged... voices being heard etc etc when it comes to social media. There seems to be this trend, on FB in particular at the moment, that you HAVE to have a certain level of friends and then the money will POUR in. Well I deleted about 10 people last night, so Im going to be broke. boohoo to me for accepting them in the first place but I did think they were offering IDEAS. I was disappointed when I realised they were not. So, interesting re all that. I guess.